Doctor Honoris Causa

Every year at our Master’s graduation ceremony, EPFL awards the title of Doctor Honoris Causa to preeminent researchers and other figures who have made a significant contribution to science and engineering.

Awardees

2021

© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2021

Chief scientist at the World Health Organization

Soumya Swaminathan is an Indian paediatrician and clinical scientist known for her research on tuberculosis and HIV. Since March 2019, Swaminathan has served as the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, playing a key role in the COVID 19 pandemic.

© Stijn Debrouwere, CC BY 2.0

Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Lorraine Daston is an American historian of science and an authority on Early Modern European scientific and intellectual history. In 1993, she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a permanent fellow at the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study.

2019

Maria Leptin lors de la Magistrale 2021 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2019
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2019

Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization

Maria Leptin is a German developmental biologist and immunologist, and President of the European Research Council. She was the Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization from 2010 to 2021.

2018

Martine Closel lors de la Magistrale 2018 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2018
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2018

Co-founder of Actelion and Idorsia

Martine Clozel is the co-founder of pharmaceuticals leading companies Actelion (1997) and Idorsia (2017).

Yann LeCun à la Magistrale 2018 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2018
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2018

Vice president & chief AI scientist at Meta

Yann LeCun, a computer scientist, is the vice president and chief AI scientist at Meta. He received the Turing Award in 2018.

2017

Suzan Levine lors de la Magistrale 2017 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2018
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2017

United States ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Suzan G. LeVine served as the United States ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2014 to 2017.

Portrait d'Yves Meyer © Alain Herzog / EPFL, 2017
© Alain Herzog / EPFL, 2017

Member of the French Academy of Science, Abel Prize laureate

Yves Meyer, a French mathematician, won the 2017 Abel Prize for his major role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets.

2016

Daphne Koller lors de la Magistrale 2016 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2016
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2016

Professor of computer science at Stanford University

Daphne Koller is a computer scientist and worked previously as a professor in the computer science department at Stanford University. She is one of the founders of the Coursera online education platform.

Emmanuelle Charpentier lors de la Magistrale 2016 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2016
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2016

Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology

Emmanuelle Charpentier is a French professor and researcher in microbiology, genetics and biochemistry. She has been a director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology since 2015. In 2020, she and American biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a method for genome editing.

2015

Margaret McFall-Ngai lors de la Magistrale 2015 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2015
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2015

Director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Program

Margaret McFall-Ngai is a professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory (University of Hawaii), where she works on immunology and marine biology. As one of the first researchers to explore the symbiotic relationship between animals and bacteria, she has contributed to promising research on the microbiome.

Bonnie Berger lors de la Magistrale 2015 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2015
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2015

Professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Bonnie Berger is a professor at MIT, where she sought out the most challenging problems on which to test the algorithms she developed. She went on to study protein folding, establishing herself as a pioneer in the early days of computational biology.

Frederik Paulsen lors de la Magistrale 2015 © Christian Brun / EPFL, 2015
© Christian Brun / EPFL, 2015

Non-executive chairman of Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Frederik Paulsen, the CEO of Ferring Pharmaceutical, has long supported EPFL’s research on lake ecosystems. He funded ambitious research programs on Lake Baikal and Lake Geneva involving Swiss, Russian and French scientists.

2014

Honorary research director at the Pasteur Institute

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, along with Luc Montagnier, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 for discovering the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In addition to her contribution to our understanding of this virus, she is currently the president of Sidaction, an association that takes a humanitarian approach to fighting the disease that the virus causes.

Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cynthia Barnhart has conducted landmark operations research on transportation systems and is deeply involved in the scientific community. She is the first female chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with a particular focus on promoting young researchers and women.

Founder of Synthes Holding AG

Hansjörg Wyss founded Synthes, a company that has revolutionized the medical device market. In 2009, he made a major donation to Harvard University to create the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

2013

Experimental particle physicist at CERN

Fabiola Gianotti is the director-general of CERN, where she previously led one of the teams involved in the Higgs Boson discovery. She is also the spokesperson for the ATLAS collaboration, one of the world’s largest research projects, and a member of the Italian Academy of Sciences.

Director of the Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois

John A. Rogers is a physical chemist and materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He seeks to understand the unique properties of soft materials such as polymers and biological tissues, and to develop hybrid combinations of these materials. He founded and runs Active Impulse Systems.

Professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Christos Papadimitriou is a professor of computer science widely known for his contributions in the field of algorithmic complexity, databases and combinatorial optimization. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of Computational Complexity

2012

Professor of statistics at Stanford University

David Donoho is a professor of statistics at Stanford University, with recognized expertise in statistics, signal processing and information theory. He’s also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Co-director of the US Department of Energy Frontier Research Center on Combustion Science

Emily Carter directs the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University. She is recognized for her fundamental contributions to the development of density functional theories and multiscale quantum methods.

2011

Professor at the University of Iowa and the University of Southern California

Hanna Damasio co-founded the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, where she is also the director of the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center. Using technological developments in brain-imaging, she helped discover the neurological bases of a wide range of mental functions.

Professor at the University of Iowa and the University of Southern California

Antonio Damasio co-founded the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California and is a professor of neuroscience, psychology and philosophy. Using technological developments in brain-imaging, he helped discover the neurological bases of a wide range of mental functions.

Professor of chemistry at Princeton University

Roberto Car is a chemistry professor at Princeton University. He co-developed the ab-initio molecular dynamics approach, also known as the Car-Parrinello method. This approach was a major breakthrough in computational physics and had an enormous impact on the development of molecular simulations with practical applications in basic science.

Director of the National Science Foundation

Subra Suresh is the president of Nanyang Technological University and director of the National Science Foundation, the US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical domains of science and engineering. He was elected to all three branches of the US National Academies.

2010

Co-founder of Yahoo!

Jerry Yang is the co-Founder of Yahoo!. He also leads Ame Cloud Ventures, a venture capital fund that provides seed funding to later stage companies building data-related infrastructure and value chains.

Professor at Collège de France and École Polytechnique

Pierre-Louis Lions is a French mathematician and professor at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1994 and is the chairman of the board of Ecole Normale Supérieure.

President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Shirley Jackson is the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was the first African-American woman to receive a PhD from MIT. She is a leading figure in the US, where she sits on some of the most important scientific committees.

2009

Professor at California Institute of Technology and Nobel laureate

Ahmed Zewail won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999 for his work on femtochemistry. He also pioneered ultrafast electron diffraction and microscopy. He previously served as the director of the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology at the California Institute of Technology.

Head of the Bacteria-Cell Interactions Unit at the Pasteur Institute

Pascale Cossart is a bacteriologist, professor and head of the Bacteria-Cell Interactions Unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. She was awarded the Balzan prize for infectious diseases in 2013.

Research director at the Verimag Laboratory

Joseph Sifakis is the founder of the Verimag Laboratory and was a professor at EPFL’s School of Computer and Communication Sciences from 2011 to 2016. He received the Turing Award, the computer science equivalent of the Nobel Prize, in 2007.

2008

Professor emeritus at ETH Zurich

Christian Menn, a professor of structural engineering at ETH Zurich, was a prominent structural engineer, bridge designer and builder. He worked on over 100 bridges in Switzerland.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Al Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States and is the founder and chair of The Climate Reality Project. In 2007, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to the environment, together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor of computer science at Cornell Tech

Deborah Estrin is a professor of computer science at Cornell Tech, where she holds the Robert V. Tishman Founder’s Chair. She co-founded the Open mHealth non-profit organization and was an Amazon Scholar in 2019–2020.

2007

Computer programmer, researcher, investor and philanthropist

Paul Allen was a computer programmer, researcher, investor and philanthropist. He co-founded Microsoft Corporation with Bill Gates. He went on to found Vulcan Inc., as well as the Allen Institutes for Brain Science, Artificial Intelligence and Cell Science.

President of the French National Center for Scientific Research

Catherine Bréchignac is a French physicist specializing in atomic physics and, more particularly, atomic aggregates. She served as president of the French National Center for Scientific Research from 2006 to 2010, was awarded the Légion d’Honneur, and is currently an elected member of the French Academy of Sciences.

Professor emeritus at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Forney is an American electrical engineer who developed the first modern high-speed telephone line modem while working at Codex. He was the vice president of Motorola from 1977 to 1999, and has been an adjunct professor in LIDS (MIT) since 1996.

2006

Founder and general manager of the Montreux Jazz Festival

Claude Nobs was the founder and general manager of the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1973 he became the director of the Swiss branch of Warner, Elektra and Atlantic.

Executive vice chancellor and provost at Berkeley

Paul R. Gray is an electrical engineer involved in the application of new technologies for analog integrated circuits. Besides being a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, he was the chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, the dean of the College of Engineering, and the executive vice chancellor and provost.

Professor of communication at the University of Southern California

Manuel Castells, a sociologist, is known for his research on the information society, communication and globalization. He served as the minister of universities in the Sánchez II Government of Spain in 2020 and 2021. He won the Holberg Prize in 2012 and the Balzan Prize for Sociology in 2013, and is a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

2005

Founder of Les Éditions Odile Jacob

Odile Jacob is a French publisher who studied philosophy, psycholinguistics and ethnology. She founded the Les Éditions Odile Jacob publishing house in the 1980s. She was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor in 2010 and an Officer of the National Order of Merit in 2011.

Executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme

Klaus Töpfer is a German politician and expert in environmental politics. He was the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme from 1998 to 2006 and served as the federal minister for the environment for seven years.

Professor in the department of mathematics at the University of California

Alexandre Chorin is an American mathematician known for his contributions to computational fluid mechanics, turbulence and computational statistical mechanics. He’s a professor at the University of California and was awarded the National Medal of Science by Barack Obama in 2014.

2004

Toyota Professor Emeritus of Materials Processing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Merton C. Flemings, a metallurgist and inventor, is a professor at MIT, where he set up the Materials Processing Center. His research focuses on ways to produce, recycle, and improve products, and he invented two processes that are now widely used in industry.

Professor at University of Geneva and co-founder of ID Quantique

Nicolas Gisin is a physicist and professor at the University of Geneva. He is a pioneer in the field of teleportation and quantum computing, and he co-founded ID Quantique, a world leader in quantum cryptography. In 2009, he was awarded the John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications.

Computer scientist, member of a Microsoft research team

Leslie Lamport is an American computer scientist known for his work in distributed systems. He is the initial developer of LaTeX, as well as the author of its first manual. He was elected to US National Academy of Sciences in 2011 and won the Turing Award in 2013.

2003

Minister delegate for Research and New Technologies in France

Claudie Haigneré is a French doctor, politician and former astronaut. She is the first European woman to go into space. After her career as an astronaut, she served in the French government as the minister delegate for Research and New Technologies from 2002 to 2004 and as minister delegate for European Affairs from 2004 to 2005.

Professor at Meijo University and researcher at NEC Corporation

Sumio Iijima is a Japanese physicist and the inventor of carbon nanotubes. He is a pioneer in the field of condensed matter physics, and his research has fueled intense interest in the area of nanotechnology. He was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics in 2002 and the Balzan Prize for Nanoscience in 2007.

President of Stanford University

John L. Hennessy, an American computer scientist and businessman, is the chairman of Alphabet Inc. He was the president of Stanford University from 2000 to 2016 and is also known for his outstanding research in the field of computer architecture, for which he was awarded the 2017 Turing Award.

Structural engineer

Jörg Schlaich is a German structural engineer known for his groundbreaking work in the creative design of bridges, long-span roofs and other complex structures. He is the co-founder of the structural engineering and consulting firm Schlaich Bergermann Partner.

2002

Professor and chair of neurobiology at Harvard

Carla Shatz, an American neurobiologist, is a professor of neurobiology and biology at Stanford. She is the director of Bio-X as well as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Brain Mind Institute. In 2016, she was awarded the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.

President of the International Olympic Committee

Jacques Rogge was a Belgian physician and sports administrator. He served as the eighth president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), from 2001 to 2013, after which he became honorary president of the IOC.

Professor of architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Rafael Moneo, a Spanish architect, is a professor of architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He opened an architecture firm in Madrid in 1965, and was the chairman of the Architecture Department of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 1985 to 1990.

Director of the Geneva Observatory and professor at the University of Geneva

Michel Mayor is a Swiss astrophysicist and professor emeritus at the University of Geneva’s Department of Astronomy. He is a co-laureate of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering an exoplanet.

2001

Philosopher, theorist and writer

Michel Serres was a philosopher, theorist, historian and writer. His works explore science, time and death. He was elected to the French Academy in 1990 in recognition of his role as one of France’s most prominent intellectuals.

Applied and computational mathematics professor at Princeton

Ingrid Daubechies is a Belgian physicist and mathematician. She has been the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2011 at Duke University. From 2011 to 2014, she served as the president of the International Mathematical Union.

Co-founder of Biogen

Charles Weissman, a Swiss molecular biologist, is known for his work on interferon synthesis. He co-founded the Biogen biotech company in Geneva and was the chairman of the Department of Infectology, at Scripps Florida, until 2011.

Professor of biophysics at ETH Zurich

Kurt Wüthrich, a Swiss chemist and biophysicist, is a professor of biophysics at ETH Zurich. He is a co-laureate of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

CEO of Sulzer Medical

André Paul Büchel is the CEO of Sulzer Medica.

1999

Honorary professor at the University of Lausanne

René Berger is a writer, philosopher and art historian. He was the director of the Vaud Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne from 1962 and 1981 and is an honorary professor at UNIL.

Executive chairman of the World Economic Forum

Klaus Schwab is a German engineer and economist. In 1971, he founded the European Symposium of Management – now called the World Economic Forum – which he stills runs as executive chairman.

Former research director at Sulzer

Hans Beutler was a research director at Sulzer, a Swiss company active in the machine industry.

1998

Swiss Federal Councilor

Jean-Pascal Delamuraz was a member of the Swiss Federal Council from 1984 to 1998 and serve as president of the Swiss Confederation in 1989 and 1996.

Philosopher

Jeanne Hersch is a Swiss philosopher known for her work on the notion of liberty. She headed the philosophy division at UNESCO and was the first woman to receive the title of full professor of philosophy at the University of Geneva. She received the Ida-Somazzi Prize in 1970.

Former president of ETH Zurich

Jakob Nüesch was an agricultural engineer specializing in microbiology and biotechnology. He was the head of pharmaceutical research at Ciba-Geigy before leaving to become president of ETH Zurich, a position he held from 1990 to 1997.

Pediatrician and cellist

Beat Richner was a Swiss pediatrician and cellist and the founder of children’s hospitals in Cambodia. He founded the Kantha Bopha foundation in 1992.

Writer and essayist

Jean Starobinski held a doctorate in letters and medicine and was a literary theorist. He was a member of France’s Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques and taught French literature at Johns Hopkins, the University of Basel and the University of Geneva.

1997

Professor at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville

Bernard Huet is a French architect and urban planner. He founded École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, where he taught until retiring in 1998.

Professor of mechanics

Hiroyasu Funakubo was a professor of mechanics specializing in life sciences and medicine. He was instrumental in promoting scientific relations and numerous academic exchanges between Switzerland and Japan.

Professor at ETH Zurich

Konrad Basler has been a professor at ETH Zurich since 1997. He studies how the body’s signaling proteins control embryonic development. He has been a member of the Academia Europaea since 2000.

1996

Professor at Collège de France and Pasteur Institute

Jean-Pierre Changeux was a French neurobiologist known for his research in the field of biology. He was a professor at and director of the neurobiological unit of the Pasteur Institute. He is also known for his ideas regarding the connection between the mind and brain.

Professor of physiology at Amsterdam University Medical Center

Nico Westerhof is a professor emeritus of physiology at University Medical Center, Amsterdam. His fields of interest include cardiovascular hemodynamics.

Director of ISREC Foundation

Bernard Hirt is the former director of the ISREC Foundation, a role he held from 1978 to 1996.

1995

Professor of chemical engineering and materials science at University of California, Santa Barbara

Edward J. Kramer was a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was widely renowned for his research in the field of block copolymers.

Professor of computer science at Université de Paris-Sud

Marie-Claude Gaudel, a French mathematician and computer scientist, is a professor at Université de Paris-Sud. Her work there focuses on software testing, and she was involved in developing the PLUSS language.

Professor of mathematics and physics at Princeton University

Elliott H. Lieb, an American physicist, is a professor of mathematics and physics at Princeton University. His work focuses on statistical mechanics, condensed matter theory and functional analysis. He has won several prizes in mathematics and physics.

1994

Entrepreneur and patron

Branco Weiss was a Swiss entrepreneur and patron. He founded three successful companies, including Kontron, which was later acquired by Hoffmann-La Roche. He also created and financed the Branco Weiss Fellowship for junior scientists.

Deputy managing director of Thomson Group

Erich Spitz is a French engineer and physicist. His research focuses on the fields of electromagnetic radiation, optical fibers and optical information storage. He served as the technical and research director at the Thomson Group for three years and as the chairman of Thales Avionics for eight years.

Computer engineer

Arun Netravali is an Indian-American computer engineer known for his work in digital technology, including the development of HDTV. He was the president of Bell Laboratories and the CTO of Lucent.

1993

Civil engineer

Jean-Claude Piguet was a Swiss engineer whose most famous work is a viaduct in Switzerland. He was a professor of reinforced concrete elements and metal constructions at EPFL and led the Vaud Society of Engineers and Architects as well as the European Federation of National Engineering Associations.

Honorary member of the Club of Rome

Hugo Thiemann was a Swiss electrophysicist. He directed the Battelle Research Institute and was a co-founder and honorary member of the Club of Rome.

Architect

Álvaro Siza is an internationally renowned Portuguese architect and one of the leading figures in contemporary architecture. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992.

Forestry engineer

René Badan is a forestry engineer at ETH Zurich. While working as an assistant in the Vaud Canton Forestry Service, he spearheaded the creation of an arboretum in the Vallon de l’Aubonne.

Astronaut

Claude Nicollier is a Swiss astrophysicist. As an astronaut with the European Space Agency, he is known as the first Swiss person to go to space. He was involved in the repair and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope.

1992

Director of Logitech

Daniel Borel, an EPFL graduate, is a Swiss engineer and computer scientist. He co-founded Logitech in 1981 and is the chairman emeritus of the company’s board of directors.

Professor at Queen’s College, University of Oxford

John M. Ball is a British mathematician and researcher. He was a professor at Queen’s College, Oxford, and served as the president of the International Mathematical Union from 2003 to 2006.

Retired mechanical engineer

Rudolf Grütter is a mechanical engineer from ETH Zurich. He joined Brown, Boveri & Cie in 1943, where he created a fluid dynamics laboratory, and took over as CEO of the company in 1975.

1991

Politician

Olivier Reverdin was a Swiss politician and academic. He was the president of the Swiss Society for the Humanities, the National Research Council and the Science Council. He was one of the founding members of the Club of Rome and the Swiss section of the World Wildlife Fund.

President of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe

Henri Rieben is a Swiss political scientist and professor. He helped found both the Center for European Research and the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, the latter of which he chaired for 27 years.

Historian and author

Jean-René Bory is a Swiss historian, lecturer and author. He was the curator of the Museum of the Swiss Abroad, and he founded and led the Swiss Society of Friends of Versailles.

Politician

Gérard Bauer was a Swiss diplomat. He was a legal expert for some years before being elected to the Neuchâtel cantonal parliament. He also helped found Institut Neuchâtelois. Just after the Second World War, he represented Switzerland at the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and subsequently chaired that organization’s executive committee.

1990

Professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Geneva

Martin Peter was a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Geneva.

Electrical engineer and inventor

Heinz Lienhard was a Swiss electrical engineer. His achievements include programming one of the first transistorized digital computers in Switzerland and developing the PORTAL programming language – which led to great progress in the field of embedded systems. He also founded Ivyteam AG.

General director of Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie (SMH)

Ernst Thomke is a Swiss physician and watchmaker. He became the head of ETA SA in 1978 before taking over as CEO of Ebauches SA; he was also appointed to the ASUAG board of directors. Following a corporate merger, he became the CEO of SMH, now the Swatch Group. He later served as the CEO of other companies.

1989

Politician

Jean-Pierre Pradervand was a Swiss politician and a member of the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland. In 1943, he was appointed head of delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in North Africa. From 1949 to 1959, he was a member of the Vaud cantonal parliament, of which he became the leader in 1958.

Civil engineer

Maurice Cosandey was a Swiss civil engineer and professor. He was the president of EPUL from 1963 to 1969, when he transformed EPUL into EPFL, a Swiss federal institute of technology. He served as president of EPFL from 1969 to 1978.

Mathematician

Jean-Louis Lions, a mathematician, is a member of the French Academy of Sciences. He worked as a professor at the Faculty of Science in Paris, the Ecole Polytechnique and the Collège de France.

1988

Civil, electrical and mechanical engineer

René Boite, a civil, electrical and mechanical engineer, was the head of electronics at the Faculté Polytechnique de Mons. His research focused on the synthesis of numerical and active filters.

Professor of anthropology and materials science at the University of Arizona

David W. Kingery was an American materials scientist. He developed systematic methods for studying ceramics, and greatly contributed to methods for processing ceramics. For his work, he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in 1999.

Member of the National Academy of Engineering

John W. Fisher is a professor emeritus of civil engineering at Lehigh University. In 1986, he became the founding director of Lehigh University’s Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems Center. He was elected that same year to the National Academy of Engineering.

1987

Zoologist

Clifford H. Mortimer was a British zoologist and expert in hydrodynamics. In 1995, he received the A.C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor emeritus at the Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble

Jean-Claude Sabonnadière was a professor emeritus at the Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble. He worked on electromagnetic field modeling and computer-aided design (CAD), as well as calculation methods for transmission and distribution networks.

Mechanical engineer

Jost Hanny was a mechanical engineer who graduated from ETH Zurich. He developed three-dimensional puzzles and built the first computer-controlled pipe organ in Switzerland.

Specialist in hydraulic systems

Michel Carlier is a specialist in hydraulic systems.

Sound engineer

Stefan Kudelski was a Polish sound engineer known for creating the Nagra series of professional audio recorders. He received several Academy Awards and Emmy Awards between 1965 and 1986.

Professor of solid state physics at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa

Franco Bassani, an Italian physicist, was a professor at the Universities of Illinois, Rome, Palermo and Pisa. His contribution was crucial for the construction of synchrotron radiation devices in Italy. In 2001, he was awarded the Italian Gold Medal of Merit for Science and Culture.

Civil engineer

Giovanni Lombardi was a Swiss civil engineer who specialized in the construction of dams, tunnels and underground and hydraulic works. From 1989 to 2013, he served as chairman of Lombardi SA.

Mathematician

Peter Hammer was an American mathematician. He contributed to the fields of operations research and applied discrete mathematics through the study of pseudo-Boolean functions and their links to graph theory and data mining.

1985

Sociologist

Paul-Henry Chombart de Lauwe was a French sociologist who founded the Group of Social Ethnology, which conducted research on urbanized space. He was part of the French liberation army in North Africa and joined the resistance during the Second World War. He was awarded the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre.

Professor emeritus at ETH Zurich

Nikolaus Rott was a professor emeritus of fluid dynamics at ETH Zurich. His research led to fundamental advances in aerodynamics, acoustics and fluid mechanics. He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 1993.

Mathematician

Pierre-Arnaud Raviart is a French engineer who specializes in applied mathematics. He was the emeritus research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research and also worked at Pierre and Marie Curie University and Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.

Physical chemist and Nobel in Chemistry laureate

Richard Robert Ernst is a Swiss physical chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991. He contributed to the development of Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This technique is the basis for applications in chemistry, with NMR spectroscopy, and in medicine, with MRI.

1984

Former general director of Swiss Federal Railways

Roger Desponds was a Swiss civil engineer and manager who oversaw the renovation of the Bern railway station. In 1971, he became general director of Swiss Federal Railways, where he had general management responsibilities until 1983.

Member of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation

Felix Werner was a Swiss materials engineer who graduated from ETH Zurich. He was a member of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation from 1969 to 1983.

Professor of materials science and engineering

Charles Bauer was an American engineer. In 1961 he was appointed as professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He was also a visiting professor at universities in Japan, Germany, Switzerland and France.

1983

Engineer

Pierre-Louis Piguet, an EPFL graduate, was a Swiss engineer and inventor who held 20 patents in the field of hydraulic machines. His best-known invention was the spiral casing, which at the time was used in the world’s largest turbines.

Physicist

Walter D. Knight was an American physicist who specialized in condensed matter physics. He discovered what came to be known as the Knight shift, a nuclear magnetic resonance frequency shift in metals. He made fundamental contributions to the physics of atomic clusters in lattices and then in molecular jets.

Macromolecular chemist

Hans Batzer, a German macromolecular chemist, was a research director at Ciba AG in Basel. He developed epoxy resins and additives for polymers that made them resistant to photodegradation and auto-oxidation.

Bridge engineer

Jean Muller was a French engineer who focused on the design and construction of concrete bridges. He received the Frank P. Brown Medal in 1995.

Professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Léon Chua, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is considered the father of non-linear circuit theory and cellular neural circuits. He previously worked as a researcher at IBM and Purdue University.

1979

Engineer

Olivier Rambert became a member of the Swiss Artillery Commission in 1957 and joined EPFL’s Industrial Committee in 1980.

Architect

Hassan Fathy was an Egyptian architect and teacher. He pioneered the use of local building technology in Egypt, including traditional adobe and mud construction. In 1980, he was awarded the first Right Livelihood Award.

Mechanics specialist

Fritz Ludwig Pagan was a Swiss mechanics specialist. He became the director of Paillard SA in 1954 and then served as the president from 1965 to 1972. His advocacy of microengineering led to the creation of the first chair of microengineering at EPUL.

1978

Secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization

David Arthur Davis was the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization.

Physicist

Jacques Friedel was a French physicist and materials scientist. Through his research on the theoretical physics of solids, he is considered one of the fathers of materials science. He was awarded the CNRS Gold Medal in 1970 and the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor in 2013.

Mathematician and electrical engineer

Vitold Belevitch was a Belgian mathematician and electrical engineer. He innovated in the field of electrical network theory by developing a number of circuit theorems. He also introduced scattering parameters and the mathematical construction of conference matrices.

Hydraulic engineer

Gerold Schnitter was a Swiss hydraulic engineer. He worked on many hydraulic projects in Europe, including bridges and steam power plants. He served as the chairman of the Swiss National Committee for Large Dams and was a full professor of hydraulics at ETH Zurich.

Professor of computer science at ETH Zurich

Niklaus Wirth is a Swiss computer scientist. He developed several programming languages, including Pascal, and pioneered several classic topics in software engineering. In 1984, he won the Turing Award for developing innovative computer languages.

Mechanical engineer

René A. Strub is a Swiss mechanical engineer.

1977

Senior research scientist at Perkin-Elmer

Marcel J. E. Golay was a Swiss mathematician, physicist and information theorist. He was known for his application of mathematics to military and industrial problems. He invented the Golay detector, which is used in the infrared radar that he developed while in the US Army Signal Corps.

Director of Société d’équipements et d’entreprises (SEEE)

Jean Courbon was a French civil engineer who taught materials resistance at Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées. In 1962 he was tapped to manage Société d’équipements et d’entreprises (SEEE). In 1983, he was appointed honorary general engineer for roads and bridges.

Professor of theoretical physics at the Institute of Hautes Etudes Scientifiques

David Ruelle is a Belgian and French mathematical physicist who worked on statistical physics and dynamic systems. He was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1985 and is a member of Academia Europea. He is a professor emeritus at Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques near Paris.

Professor of mathematical physics at Rutgers University

Joel L. Lebowitz is a Czechoslovakian mathematical physicist noted for his contributions to statistical physics and mechanics. He is the co-founder of the Journal of Statistical Physics and previously served as the president of the New York Academy of Sciences. He is the George William Hill Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Rutgers University.

1976

Professor of architecture at EPFL

Alberto Sartoris was an Italian architect, designer and professor of international renown. He belonged to the Italian Futurist Movement and co-founded the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne in 1928. He began teaching at EPFL in 1976.

1974

Professor of pharamacology at the University of Bern

Hans-Peter Tschudi-Steiner was a professor at the University of Bern. He served as both a cantonal and federal councilor and as the president of the Swiss Confederation.

1969

Chairman of the general directorate of Swiss Federal Railways

Otto Wichser was a Swiss civil engineer. He worked at the Swiss Federal Railways, rising to the position of general director in 1953. He then served as the chairman of that entity’s general directorate in Bern from 1966 to 1974.

Founder of the Institute for Mathematical Research at ETH Zurich

Beno Eckmann was a Swiss mathematician. He founded the Institute for Mathematical Research at ETH Zurich in 1964. He was president of the Swiss Mathematical Society for one year and was named honorary member of the Society in 1977. He received the Albert Einstein Medal in 2008.

Chairman of the Swiss Federal Materials Testing and Research Institute

Eduard Amstutz was a Swiss mechanical engineer. He worked on the construction of Oberhasli power plants and was a control engineer at the Federal Aviation Office. He was hired at ETH Zurich as an associate professor of aircraft statics and construction in 1937 and became a full professor in 1943. He was the chairman of the Federal Materials Testing and Research Institute from 1949 to 1969.

1963

Member of the Swiss Science and Innovation Council

Pierre de Haller was an engineer and research director at Sulzer AG. He was on the Swiss Commission for Atomic Science and later joined the Swiss Science and Innovation Council.

Chairman of the Atel board of directors

Charles Aeschimann is an electrical engineer. He served as the director of Atel and became its chairman in 1951. Under his tenure, Atel rose to prominence in Switzerland and internationally, for example with the Gösgen-Däniken nuclear power plant.

Director of the Department of Industrial Research at ETH Zurich

Ernst Baumann was an electrical engineer and the director of the Department of Industrial Research at ETH Zurich. He studied carrier frequency telephony, developed the first Swiss quartz watch and perfected the eidophore, a process for projecting television images onto a large screen.

President of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation

Fritz Hummler was a Swiss lawyer. His roles included secretary of the Swiss Society of Machine Builders, president of the Swiss Trade Development Office and president of the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI).

1959

Aeronaut and oceanographer

Auguste Piccard was a Swiss physicist, aeronaut and oceanographer. In addition to breaking the record for helium balloon flight, he invented the first bathyscaphe, which he used to explore the ocean and set an unbeatable diving record by reaching the bottom of Challenger Deep.

1955

Industrialist

Auguste Scheuchzer was a Swiss industrialist and inventor. He created multiple mechanical prototypes such as a weeding machine, a sieving machine and a tamping machine.

1953

Engineer

Cécile Pochon was an engineer who worked for the Visseaux Lamp Company.

Architect

Alphonse Laverrière was a Swiss architect and professor at ETH Zurich. He won the gold medal for architecture at the art competitions held at the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1912. He designed Lausanne’s train station and botanical garden.

Professor at ETH Zurich

Franz Tank was a Swiss physicist and mathematician. He studied radio technology and worked as a professor at ETH Zurich from 1922 to 1960. He also served as president of the Swiss Electrical Engineering Association.

Member of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce

Arthur Wilhelm was the chairman of the board of directors of Durand & Huguenin and the president of ScienceIndustries, a pharmaceutical organization. He was also a member of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce from 1946 to 1962.

Honorary president of the Association A3 at EPUL

André Mairesse was the honorary president of Association A3 at EPUL (which later became EPFL).

President of the Italian National Research Council

Gustavo Colonnetti was an Italian mathematician and engineer. He made major contributions to research on continuum mechanics and the strength of materials and is known for the Colonnetti theorem. He was also the president of the Italian National Research Council.

Civil engineer

Auguste Chevalley was a civil engineer who graduated from EPUL (which later became EPFL), specializing in electrification. He worked on a major project to oxygenate the waters of Lake Geneva in order to combat bacteriological pollution during the interwar period.

President of the International Committee of Engineering Sciences of UNESCO

Eric Choisy was an electrical engineer specializing in the field of transport. He led Geneva’s electric tram company and helped build the Verbois hydropower plant. He also served as president of the International Committee of Engineering Sciences of UNESCO and subsequently founded the Swiss Association for Atomic Energy.

Professor at ETH Zurich

Henri Favre was a professor at ETH Zurich who made important contributions in mechanics and hydraulics. He played an important role in the field of civil engineering, both as a physicist and civil engineer.

Director of cadastral surveying

Hans Haerry was a Swiss surveyor and geometer. He developed the use of photogrammetry for close-up and accident photography and introduced photogrammetric cadastral surveying. He was the director of cadastral surveying from 1949 to 1960.

Mathematician and engineer

Friedrich Tölke was a German mathematician and civil and mechanical engineer who published works on statics, dams and function tables. He worked as a professor of technical mechanics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and of mechanics at the Technical University of Berlin.

1945

Engineer

René Koechlin was an engineer who specialized in hydraulic power. He was involved in the construction of the Paris metro and in a project to harness the waters of the Rhine to generate electricity. He also built the world’s first pumped storage power station at Lac Noir in 1928.

Politician and engineer

Maurice Paschoud was a Swiss politician in the Radical Democratic Party and a university professor. He was a cantonal councilor in the Department of Education and Religious Affairs and also served as the director general of the Swiss Federal Railways.

1937

Civil engineer

Adolf Bühler was a Swiss civil engineer. He was the director of the Bühler company, which expanded outside the borders of Switzerland under his tenure. He helped pioneer the Swiss machine industry and was involved in various social initiatives. He was also a bridge engineer at the Swiss Federal Railways.

Mathematician and physicist

Walter Wyssling was a mathematician and physicist. He helped develop the country’s electricity supply, for example by constructing the Sihl power station. He served as a professor of electrical engineering and rector at ETH Zurich.

Geodesist and surveyor

Jakob Baltensperger was a Swiss geodesist and federal surveying director. He also worked as the director of cadastral surveys at the Federal Department of Justice and Police.

Physicist

Hans König was a Swiss physicist who worked as a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Bern. He also headed the Office of Weights and Measures in the Federal Office of Metrology from 1951 to 1969.

Geotechnical civil engineer

Giovanni Rodio was an Italian geotechnical civil engineer who specialized in hydropower plants. He is known for his pioneering work in soil and rock injection in the laying of dam foundations.

Director of Paillard

Albert Paillard was the director of Paillard SA, a manufacturing company.

Hydraulic and electrical engineer

Louis Bergeron was a French engineer who specialized in hydraulic and electrical engineering. He helped develop a method of graphically calculating pressure and flow wave fronts in the hydraulic water hammer models used in water supply networks. He was a professor of hydraulics in several French engineering schools.

Head of the Roads and Bridges Laboratory

Raoul Ferret was the head of the Roads and Bridges Laboratory.

Civil engineer

Auguste Dommer was a Swiss civil engineer. He worked as a professor of bridges and steel structures at the Lausanne School of Engineering (a forerunner of EPFL) from 1901 to 1933. He also built the Charles-Bessières Bridge in Lausanne and founded the Auguste Dommer award in 1925.

Professor of hydraulics at the Lausanne School of Engineering

René Neeser was a mechanical engineer who worked as a professor of hydraulics at the Lausanne School of Engineering (a forerunner of EPFL). He served as the president of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects from 1937 to 1943.

Former director of Chippis

Henri Detraz was a director of the Chippis manufacturing plant and a member of the management team at Neuhausen.